This past weekend, more than 30 children who had been separated from their families during the war and brought to Russia or the Russian-occupied Crimea were reunited with them in Ukraine after a protracted operation.

After a complicated rescue operation that required travel through four nations, mothers hugged their kids and daughters as they crossed the border from Belarus into Ukraine on Friday.

13-year-old Dasha Rakk claimed that last year, because to the conflict, she and her twin sister decided to leave the Russian-occupied city of Kherson and spend a few weeks at a summer camp in Crimea. Russian officials, however, claimed that the kids would be staying longer once they arrived in Crimea.

They said that we would be adopted and given guardians, she stated. “We all broke down in tears when they originally told us we would stay longer.”

She said it was sad to see youngsters who had been left behind wailing beyond the gate.

Since Moscow’s invasion of Crimea in February of last year, Kyiv estimates that almost 19,500 children have been deported illegally, either to Russia or the Russian-occupied territory.

Moscow, which controls parts of eastern and southern Ukraine, denies kidnapping children and claims they were taken elsewhere for their own safety.

“The sixth rescue operation is already almost over. Because of its complexity and the number of kids we were able to return, it was unique “said Mykola Kuleba, the founder of the nonprofit organisation Save Ukraine, which assisted in organising the rescue operation.

The three said that they were taken from occupied areas of the Kherson and Kharkiv districts and separated from their parents who had been forced by Russian authorities to enrol their kids in two-week Russian summer camps.

The young people present at the briefing claimed they were transferred around and forced to spend four to six months at the summer camps.

“We were handled like creatures. We were shut in a different building, “Vitaly, a little boy from the Kherson region whose age was unclear, claimed. They were informed, he said, that their parents no longer desired them.

This month, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, and for violating children’s rights.

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